Spotlight on Engineering Alumni: Christopher Brown

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Name: Christopher Brown

Education (UR and additional): Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (University of Rochester, May 2009), Master of Computer Science (Texas A&M University, December 2012)

Current job title: Interactive Software Developer

Current employer: Boston Museum of Science

Current city/state of residence: Boston, MA


Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I applied to the University of Rochester through the Early Decision process and I chose to attend because it was prestigious, offered more flexible general education requirements than other schools, had a large selection of majors, had small class sizes, and was affordable for me (with a generous financial aid package). Looking back at my experience at UR, the community of faculty, staff, and students that supported me throughout my education was the strongest asset that UR offered me.

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

Officially, I enrolled at UR as undecided, but after being on campus for a few days during freshman orientation and looking over information on different majors I chose Electrical and Computer Engineering. The choice was primarily motivated by my interest in computers and emerging technology, but it was also a gamble because I basically knew nothing about engineering. When courses started, I felt a little lost and out of place at first, but I stuck with it because the outcome of the work was interesting to me even though the learning process was difficult.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

Immediately after graduation I moved to New York City and worked for Organic Motion, a start-up software development company specializing in real-time markerless motion capture and computer vision. I worked as an artist doing multimedia production and sometimes worked as a software developer writing small applications and tools. I decided to work at Organic Motion because I was interested in computer graphics and animation, which was a primary market for their motion capture system.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

Currently, I work at the Boston Museum of Science as a software developer for an upcoming exhibit called The Science Behind Pixar. This is a traveling exhibit about the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) behind Pixar Animation Studio’s award-winning films. I chose to pursue a career as a computer graphics software developer because of the hands-on development experience I had at Organic Motion, the research and development internship experience I had at DreamWorks Animation, and the work I did in graduate school at Texas A&M University. I make career choices based on my love for computer graphics and a desire to perform meaningful and challenging work. Computer graphics can be used across domains to help solve difficult problems and this will make my future career path very exciting. 

How do you balance your work and personal life?

I firmly believe that the workday ends when I leave the office. I am passionate about my work, but anything in excess is not good for you. In my experience, the time away from work is just as important as the time that I spend at work. Many times I come up with solutions to problems when I am doing something completely different or I find creative inspiration in the activities of everyday life. My time away from work helps me maintain efficiency, motivation, inspiration, and creativity. In my mind, any company that does not encourage a proper balance of work and personal life does not respect me as a person and is probably not worth working for.